Preparing for the month of fasting

It’s that time of the year again when Muslims around the world are preparing for a month of fasting. I have been fasting since puberty hit but every year just as the start of Ramadan approaches I am always a little nervous and apprehensive because it always feels like it’s going to be difficult especially given the long British summers. But then on the other hand I do get excited about all the family gatherings, food and of course a chance to stop and take stock of all the blessings.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Quran was revealed. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted in the country you are resident. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam along with Faith, Prayer, Charity and Pilgrimage to Mecca. 

Taking time out for charity

We are all busy in our lives and its easy for us to slip in to routine and forget about the bigger picture or even about those in need around us. Ramadan for me is a reminder that we must look beyond ourselves to see how we can support others and grow our faith by increasing the intensity of prayer and giving. A key action for me is always around taking time out for charity.

Not everyone in the world has the same opportunities and its all of our responsibility to do our bit. This can be in the shape of making donation (for instance by donating to DRM), feeding the homeless, volunteering with a charity, and so forth.

This year I will be taking the opportunity to support Diversity Role Models in delivering their workshops in schools which tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. I think it’s important for us to focus on inclusivity and ensure that we treat everyone the way we like to be treated and I encourage you all to do your part this Ramadan to make the world a better place for everyone.

Practically how does fasting work?

- All Muslims should observe Ramadan except those who are sick, travelling, the old, the young (Pre-puberty), the pregnant, and mothers breast feeding.

- The fasting period lasts from dawn to dusk (4am to 9.30pm in the UK) when Muslims are required to abstain from eating and drinking.

- They should also avoid cursing, thinking evil thoughts, swearing and using improper language.

- One of the aims of fasting is to empathise with the less fortunate members of society who may be short of food and drink.

So Day 1 tomorrow. I wish you all a Happy Ramadan!